An easy how to guide for grown-ups to help children create stunning simple printed artworks at home.
Monoprinting is a method of printing that uses a combination of printmaking, painting and drawing techniques to create a print. This is a specially adapted, child friendly, monoprinting method that is lots of creative fun. You and your little one will quickly learn how to make spontaneous playful prints in a creative play session filled with masses of wonderful ‘wow’ moments.
ALL THE THINGS YOU’LL NEED:
Child’s painting apron or an old t-shirt to protect clothes
Wipe clean protective table cover
Newspaper or large sheet of scrap paper
Double sided sticky tape
Paints - ready mixed child friendly
Ink roller or rolling pin
Papers - A4 sized sheets of plain white and coloured
Kitchen roll or tissue
String & pegs
These items are inexpensive and easy to find in the shops. You may find you have most of the ingredients you need to make a ‘Marvellous Monoprint’ already. The only specialist tool you might need to invest in is a rubber ink roller - these are available to buy from most art and craft shops - or, you could always try using a rolling pin.
HOW TO MAKE A MARVELLOUS MONOPRINT:
- Prepare your printing area - Any activity involving paint can easily get quite messy so to ensure maximum monoprinting fun it’s best to fully prepare your printing area. Cover your printing table with a wipe down table cloth or some bin liners. Then tape a sheet of newspaper or scrap paper to the table cover where you intend to make your prints.
2. Make your printing plate -
- Use strong scissors to cut a thick piece of cardboard to A5 size (half of an A4 sized sheet) making sure that your cardboard is no thinner than 3mm. You could always layer and stick two pieces together to make a thicker piece of cardboard. You’re aiming to make a printing plate that is slightly raised from the surface level of the table in order to give your prints a clean neat edge.
- Cut a piece of tin foil approximately 40cm long
- Place the tin foil sheet face down on the table and put the cardboard in the centre of the foil sheet
- Wrap the cardboard in the tin foil in the same way you’d wrap a birthday gift and carefully smooth out any creases. This is your printing plate.
- Put a strip of double sided sticky tape on the back of the printing plate (the side where the folded edges of the tin foil are visible) and stick it to the newspaper/scrap paper sheet on the table.
- Squeeze a small blob of paint onto the centre of the tin foil printing plate
- Use the ink roller to roll and spread the paint in a thin even layer, covering all of the tin foil plate. Don’t worry if some of the paint spills off the edges, your printing plate will be raised just enough for the paper not to touch the excess paint when you print.
- Comfortably hold a cotton bud in the same way you would hold a pencil or a paintbrush. Use the cotton bud to draw playful patterns, shapes and pictures; have fun making expressive marks and scribbles into the surface of the pre-rolled paint. The tip of the cotton bud should remove the paint from the tin foil surface as you ‘draw’.
- When you’re happy with your design, very lightly lay an A4 sheet of white or coloured paper over the painted printing plate. Try to position the paper so that the foil plate sits centrally underneath the paper.
- Spread your hand out flat and place it very lightly on the paper. Use your fingers and the palm of your hand to gently smooth over the paper being careful not to apply too much pressure. This will transfer the paint left on the printing plate to the underside of the paper to make your monoprint.
- Using both hands, hold the bottom edge of the A4 paper sheet between your fingers and thumbs and peel the paper upwards and backwards away from you until it’s completely removed from the printing plate.
- Ta-da! Your print is finished - peg out to dry and make some more.
TIPS TO MAKE YOUR MONOPRINTS EVEN MORE MARVELLOUS:
- You can never be exactly sure what magic will happen on the paper when you’re monoprinting. If you don’t have a ‘wow’ moment first time round, then keep playing and experimenting with the technique. Try drawing into a thinner layer of paint or vary the weight of pressure you apply when smoothing out the paper until you get results that make you smile.
- Your printing plate is completely reusable so it’s super easy to squeeze out some more paint and repeat the process over and over to make yourself as many marvellous monoprints as you like.
- If you’re using different colours of paint, remember to wipe down the ink roller with a wet wipe and dry with tissue in between prints.
- If you’re embarking on an exciting big printing session you could set up several individual printing stations, one for each paint colour. Let your little ones decide which colour printing station they visit next. This could be a good opportunity to practice learning, recognising and identifying colours too.
- Pin up a length of string to peg your prints on as you make them - Monoprinting happens quickly and before you know it you’ll have created stacks of beautiful printed papers that need somewhere safe to dry.
- The finished print is always a mirror image of the one we see on the printing plate. If you want to print letters or numbers, you need to flip the letters and draw them back to front on the tin foil printing plate in order for them to print the right way round.
- Try cutting out shapes from paper and laying them alongside your cotton bud marks on the paint before you make your print.
- Make a hand print into the paint on the printing plate and print it. Remember to use the opposite hand to the one you use for smoothing out the paper.
- Use patterned papers and photos, scissors and glue to create an A4 sized paper collage you can print on to.
- Draw into the less successful of your prints when they’re dry with oil pastels, pencils or crayons, use the prints as backgrounds to create lovely layered pictures.
- When you’ve mastered the technique try making a big tin foil printing plate and use even bigger pieces of paper to make huge exciting prints.
- Pop your artwork in a picture frame for a super professional finish